I keep watching the national cable networks talk about the upcoming election and touting polls. It’s very close. Just a few points separate the candidates.
Uh… guys… that’s not how we elect a president.
You don’t need a majority of the voters to become president. You need a majority of electoral votes. Though that race is reasonably close, it’s not as close as the simple horse race numbers.
RealClearPolitics.com is a typical site showing current Electoral College sentiment. In this race Obama-Biden is much farther ahead of McCain-Palin. ElectoralVote.com is another site breaking it out this way.
FiveThirtyEight.com also predicts Obama-Biden and breaks it out with more stats than even I want to see (and I love stats). They claim there’s a 78.5% chance Democrats will prevail versus 21.5% for the Republicans. That’s a little less than 4:1 odds, which is very strong. It’s stronger still when you consider fivethirtyeight.com is only calling for Obama-Biden to receive 50.6% of the popular vote!
Obviously things can change. A candidate can make a major faux pas or inject a wild card (like Sara Palin’s nomination for VP) to shake things up. Right now it’s Obama-Biden’s to lose.
I just wonder why the national media chooses to dwell on meaningless aggregate popular vote projections? They mention the Electoral College, but as an afterthought not as their main point.
Does it just make for a more interesting story when it’s more of a horse race? Do they think Electoral College numbers are too complex for mere mortals to comprehend? We’ll probably never know.